Forest fire trial could start soonPublished 6:13pm Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The trial of a Dadeville man charged with setting off a string of forest fires last year could begin by next week.
The trial for Richard Ivey Albright is scheduled to begin this criminal jury term, which began Monday and will conclude next week, according to court documents.
Albright, who was 29 at the time of his arrest, was charged on April 15, 2010 with willfully setting fire to brush.
“(Albright) is still on the docket for this term,” Renee Sample with the Tallapoosa County District Attorney’s Office said. “They may or may not get to it this term.”
Authorities responded to six wildfires near Civitan Road and Falling Waters Drive in the Holiday Shores area of Dadeville four days before Albright’s arrest, according to an article published April 17, 2010 in The Outlook.
The six fires damaged at least nine acres of property.
Albright’s attorney, Mark Allen Treadwell, maintained that his client is innocent when reached for comment Tuesday.
“Mr. Albright had done some burning on his property and the fire had kind of gotten out and burned some of his property and his neighbor’s property,” he said. “He thought he extinguished the fire the next day, but due to windy conditions, it picked back up and continued burning.
“By the time he was notified (the fire was still burning), it was really burning on the other property. He thought the best way to control the fire would be to start a backfire. That didn’t work, so now he is charged with this.”
Treadwell said that although he will be available to try the case if it comes up during this criminal term, he still has some hope of resolving the case without a trial.
Other cases scheduled to begin trial this term include:
n Robert A. Brown for one count of sodomy first degree and one count of sex abuse—child less than 12 years old,
n Johnson Tyrell for one count of burglary first degree and one count of theft of property first degree,
n Nicholas Goggans for one count of conspiracy—robbery first degree and one count of robbery first.
The county’s next criminal jury term is in December.